Linda Sánchez

Linda Teresa Sánchez (born January 28, 1969) is an American politician and former labor lawyer who currently serves as the U.S. Representative for California's 38th congressional district. She is a member of the Democratic Party and was first elected to Congress in 2002. She currently serves on the Ways and Means Committee and is the previous ranking member on the House Ethics Committee. In the 114th Congress, she served as the Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.[1]

Linda Sánchez
Linda Sánchez, 116th Congress, official photo.jpg
Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus
In office
January 3, 2017 – January 3, 2019
LeaderNancy Pelosi
Preceded byJoe Crowley
Succeeded byKatherine Clark
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from California
Assumed office
January 3, 2003
Preceded bySteve Horn (Redistricting)
Constituency39th district (2003–2013)
38th district (2013–present)
Personal details
Linda Teresa Sánchez

(1969-01-28) January 28, 1969 (age 52)
Orange, California, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
James Sullivan
(m. 2009)
RelativesLoretta Sánchez (sister)
EducationUniversity of California, Berkeley (BA)
University of California, Los Angeles (JD)
WebsiteHouse website

In 2016, she was elected by her colleagues to serve as Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus for the 115th Congress, the fifth-ranking position in House Democratic leadership. She is the first woman of color ever to be elected to a leadership position in the history of the U.S. Congress.[2] She is the younger sister to former congresswoman Loretta Sanchez and they are to date the only pair of sisters to have served in the United States Congress.

Early life, education and careerEdit

Sánchez was born on January 28, 1969, in Orange, California.[3] She grew up with six siblings, raised by Mexican immigrant parents in Anaheim, where she attended Valencia High School.[4] She earned her BA in Spanish[citation needed] in 1991 at the University of California, Berkeley, and her Juris Doctor degree in 1995 at the UCLA School of Law,[3] where she was an editor of the Chicano-Latino Law Review.[5]

Sánchez was an attorney specializing in labor law prior to her public service career. In 1998, she joined the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 441 and became a compliance officer.[6] From 2000 to 2002, she was executive secretary and treasurer of the Orange County branch of the AFL-CIO.[3]

Political campaignsEdit

39th congressional district (2003-2013)Edit

Sánchez started her political career in what was then the 39th district. That district had previously been the 38th, represented by five-term Republican Steve Horn. It already had a modest Democratic lean, but redistricting following the 2000 Census made it even more Democratic, prompting Horn to retire.

Sánchez finished first in a six-person primary for the Democratic Party nomination in March 2002. She won the primaries with 33.5% of the vote, with the second place candidate Hector de la Torre receiving 29.3%.[7] She went on to win the general elections against Republican Tim Escobar by a 54.9% to 40.8% margin. This made Sánchez the first woman IBEW member to be elected to Congress.[6]

She ran unopposed in the Democratic primaries in 2004. She faced Escobar again in the general election, defeating him by a margin of 60.7% to 39.3%. For the 2006 elections, she defeated two challengers in the primary with 77.8% of the vote, and defeated attorney James L. Andion in the general election.

Linda and her sister, Loretta, became the first pair of sisters to serve together in the U.S. House of Representatives.[8] Her sister served as a congresswoman from an Orange County district from 1996 until she announced her plan to run for U.S. Senate.[9] She finished second in California's "top two" primary, and was defeated by fellow Democrat, then state Attorney General, now Vice President Kamala Harris, in the general election in 2016.

38th congressional district (2013–present)Edit

After the 2010 census, Sánchez' district was renumbered as the 38th district. In the upcoming election she faced Republican Ryan Downing.[10]

U.S. House of RepresentativesEdit

Congresswoman Sánchez participates in Long Beach's Veterans Day celebration.

Committee assignmentsEdit

Party leadership and caucus membershipsEdit

She has two committee assignments in the House: the Committee on Ethics and the United States House Committee on Ways and Means. In 2005, she was appointed Assistant Minority Whip. She is a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and is Co-Chair of the Congressional Labor and Working Families Caucus (she co-founded this caucus). She is also a Vice-Chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus.

Political positionsEdit

In 2014, Project Vote Smart, using public statements, voting records, and evaluations from special interest groups,[17] was able to infer the major issues Sánchez would or not agree upon. Its conclusions, though not officially confirmed by Sanchez, were that Sánchez:

  • supported pro-choice legislation
  • did not support combat operations in Afghanistan
  • supported reducing defense spending to balance budget
  • supported spending to increase economic growth
  • supported federal regulations on greenhouse gas emissions
  • supported the restriction of the purchase and possessions of guns
  • did not support the requirement for illegal immigrants to return to their country of origin before they are eligible for citizenship
  • supported same-sex marriage
  • supported strong social security legislation.[17]


Sánchez supports a progressive tax system and voted against maintaining reduced tax rates for capital gains and dividends.[18] In addition she was rated a "Big Spender" by NTU indicating she generally supports higher tax rates.[18]


Sánchez voted against spending prioritizing in the event of the debt limit being reached. In 2009 she supported both a 192 billion dollar anti-recession stimulus package and an 825 Billion bailout fund.[18] Additional to these, she supported a 15 billion dollar bailout for GM and Chrysler as well as a 60 Billion dollar stimulus package. She voted in 2011 to raise the debt limit to 16.7 trillion dollars.[18] She opposes any move to privatize Social Security and supports keeping it strictly federally funded.[18]


She opposes new exploration for oil drilling and would remove tax benefits for oil and gas exploration. She has also opposed permits and construction for new oil refineries.[18] She supports tax credits and incentives for investments in renewable energy.[18]

Government reformEdit

Sánchez supports lobbyist disclosures for campaign finances as well as requiring full disclosure of campaign finances. She seeks to guarantee free and fair elections.[18]

Gun controlEdit

Sánchez is pro-gun control and believes in background checks, no fly-no buy, gun control and gun violence research.[19] She seeks to close the gun show loophole for firearm sales. She believes gun manufacturers and sellers are accountable and ought to be liable for misuse cases by users.[18]


Sánchez opposes the privatization of Medicare in any form, and opposes spending cuts to Medicare. Instead she supports expanding healthcare coverage by a number of programs through federal funding.[18] She has stated that she believes healthcare is a basic right.[18] However, when asked whether she supports the universal health care bill HR 676 by Rep. John Conyers, she declined to vote in favor of it,[vague] citing the need to support the Affordable Care Act.[20][better source needed]


Sánchez is pro-choice and has voted against repealing federal funding for abortions.[18] She opposed legislation to bar transporting minors between states for abortions and making it a crime to harm a fetus in another crime.[18] According to research done by Project Vote Smart, they were able to determine the following:[17]

Civil rightsEdit

She was given a 100% rating by the NAACP, indicating a pro–affirmative action position.[18] Sánchez is a gay rights supporter and opposes discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender.[18] On October 4, 2011, Sánchez made a statement on the LGBT History Month, saying: "We must continue to strive to end discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation and fight so that all Americans have the right to marry and start families with those they love. I remain committed to supporting marriage equality, investments in HIV/AIDS care, treatment and research, and campaigns that take action against bullying in schools."[24]

On a letter written on February 9, 2010 to President Barack Obama, then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senator Charles Schumer, Sánchez explained how "Currently, U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents may sponsor their spouses (and other immediate family members) for immigration purposes. But, same-sex partners committed to spending their lives together are not recognized as "families" under U.S. immigration law and thus do not have this same right." and how "This is unacceptable, and we believe comprehensive immigration reform legislation must include a strong family reunification component inclusive of LGBT families."[25]

Drug policyEdit

Sánchez is pro-drug reform and supports allowing people with drug-related convictions to receive student loans if they are deemed to be rehabilitated.[18] She also seeks to expunge records of first-time drug offenders after probation.[18]


She opposes legislation that would bar the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating emissions. Sánchez is in favor of higher emission standards and establish tradable allowances.[18] She supports the cash-for-clunkers program and seeks to increase public transportation and trains through federally funded projects.[18]

Sánchez supports the addition of several species to the IUCN Red List and promotes more extensive nature conservation.[18]

Davis-Bacon ActEdit

Following Hurricane Katrina in late August 2005, President George W. Bush suspended the Davis-Bacon Act, a 1931 law that requires government contractors to pay prevailing wages. Sánchez was a very vocal critic of the suspension, and led the fight to reverse it.[26] Sánchez eventually won, as Bush reversed himself on October 26, 2005.[27]

Cyber-bullying preventionEdit

In 2009 and again in 2009, Sánchez introduced the "Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act," H.R. 1966, a bill which would criminalize the use of electronic communications if "the intent is to coerce, intimidate, harass, or cause substantial emotional distress to a person." This bill is a response to the suicide of Megan Meier, a 13-year-old girl whose 2006 suicide was attributed to cyber-bullying through the social networking website MySpace. The bill has drawn criticism from members of the on-line community, legal scholars, and others who have contended that the bill would infringe the constitutional right of freedom of speech.[28][29]

Illegal immigrationEdit

After the Arizona State Legislature passed State Senate Bill 1070 and after Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed it into law, Sánchez claimed that the law, and similar laws throughout the United States, were the product of white supremacists: "There's a concerted effort behind promoting these kinds of laws on a state-by-state basis by people who have ties to white supremacy groups. It's been documented. It's not mainstream politics."[30] Rep. Gary Miller called Sanchez's comments "an outrageous accusation."[31] Her comments were also condemned by Steve Poizner.[32]

Personal lifeEdit

Linda and her sister Loretta Sanchez are the first pair of sisters to serve simultaneously in the United States Congress.

Sánchez married Jim Sullivan on April 13, 2009, in the district office of Congressman John B. Larson, who introduced the two about two years prior to the wedding.[33] The marriage is the second for Sánchez, and Sullivan has three sons Brendan, Jack and Seamus from a previous marriage.[34] On May 13, 2009, she became the 8th woman to have given birth while serving in Congress when she gave birth to her first son, Joaquin Sánchez Sullivan.[35]

Sánchez's father, Ignacio, suffers from Alzheimer's disease, which Sánchez has cited as a motivation for finding a cure for the disease.[36]

She is the younger sister of former Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, who is nine years her senior, making them the first and to date only sister pair to serve in Congress. Linda Sánchez is considered somewhat more liberal than her older sister. While Loretta began her political career as a moderate Republican before becoming a Democrat, Linda has always been a Democrat. Also, while Loretta was a member of the Blue Dog Coalition and the New Democrat Coalition, Linda is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Stephen Colbert interviewed Sánchez for his 434-part series "Better Know A District" on The Colbert Report. The segment was aired on Comedy Central on March 9, 2006.

Sánchez delivered the Spanish version of the Democratic Radio Address on May 6, 2006.[37]

In September 2006 Sánchez won the contest "Funniest Celebrity in Washington" during a charity fundraiser.[38]


  • Linda Sánchez, Loretta Sánchez and Richard Buskin, Dream in Color: How the Sánchez Sisters Are Making History in Congress, Grand Central Publishing (September 2, 2008) ISBN 978-0-446-50804-9, foreword by Nancy Pelosi

In 2008 sister congresswomen Loretta Sánchez and Linda Sánchez published the joint memoir Dream in Color: How the Sánchez Sisters Are Making History in Congress.[5] Publishers Weekly reviewed the book and wrote: "Linda and Loretta Sánchez present their compelling story—noteworthy not only for their history-making achievements (including first sisters or women of any relation to serve together in Congress, first woman and person of color to represent a district in Orange County, first Latina on the House Judiciary Committee and first Head Start child to be elected to Congress) but also for its "American Dream" aspect—their parents immigrated from Mexico and despite lacking a formal education managed to send their seven children to college. Interweaving childhood vignettes with accounts of serving in Congress, both from California, this refreshing book evades many of the tropes of the typical political memoir—perhaps because these two women are not typical politicians."[39]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Members". Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Archived from the original on May 15, 2018. Retrieved 15 May 2018.
  2. ^ "Rep. Linda Sanchez Makes History in House Leadership Election".
  3. ^ a b c "Sanchez, Linda T." Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress. Retrieved 2020-10-17.
  4. ^ Montgomery, David (2008-01-30). "Sanchez Sisters Have a Shoe In Each Camp". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-04-13.
  5. ^ a b Sanchez, Linda; Sanchez, Loretta; Buskin, Richard (September 2, 2008). Dream in Color: How the Sánchez Sisters Are Making History in Congress (9780446508049): Linda Sánchez, Loretta Sánchez, Richard Buskin, Nancy Pelosi: Books. ISBN 978-0446508049.
  6. ^ a b "Linda Sanchez Goes To Washington". IBEW. 2003. Retrieved 21 November 2020.
  7. ^ Springer, Richard (March 15, 2002). "Linda Sanchez, Jerry Brown Win in California Primary". INDIAWEST.
  8. ^ Bunis, Dena (November 6, 2002). "Congress gets its first sister act with Loretta and Linda Sanchez". Knight Rider Tribune News Service.
  9. ^ Lazo, Alejandro (May 13, 2015). "Loretta Sanchez to Declare Senate Candidacy on Thursday". Dow Jones Institutional News.
  10. ^ "Rep. Linda Sanchez, Ryan Downing win California 38th Congressional District primaries". The Washington Post. August 8, 2018. Archived from the original on August 6, 2018. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
  11. ^ "Chairman Neal Announces Ways and Means Democrats' Subcommittee Assignments for the 117th Congress". Ways and Means Committee - Democrats. 2021-02-02. Retrieved 2021-04-23.
  12. ^ "Membership". Congressional Arts Caucus. Archived from the original on June 12, 2018. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  13. ^ "Members". Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  14. ^ "Members". Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Retrieved 2021-03-02.
  15. ^ "Our Members". U.S. House of Representatives International Conservation Caucus. Archived from the original on August 1, 2018. Retrieved August 5, 2018.
  16. ^ "Caucus Membrs". US House of Representatives. Retrieved January 3, 2021.
  17. ^ a b c d "Linda Sánchez's Issue Positions (Political Courage Test)". Vote Smart. 2014. Retrieved October 25, 2015.
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t "Linda Sanchez (Democrat, district 38)". On the Issues.
  19. ^ "Rep. Sanchez Calls for Action on Gun Safety Legislation in Wake of Las Vegas Shooting". Targeted News Service (USA). October 3, 2017. Retrieved September 21, 2018.
  20. ^ Melanie Oringer (April 12, 2017). "Linda Sanchez at April 11, 2017 Town Hall re: HR 676/Universal Healthcare for All" – via YouTube.
  21. ^ "Rating Group: National Right to Life Committee". Vote Smart. 2010. Retrieved October 25, 2015.
  22. ^ Sanchez, Linda (October 13, 2011). "Protect Life Act: Floor Speech". Vote Smart. Retrieved October 25, 2015.
  23. ^ "Rating Group: NARAL Pro-Choice America". Vote Smart. 2010. Retrieved October 25, 2015.
  24. ^ Sanchez, Linda (October 4, 2011). "Linda Sánchez Statement on LGBT History Month". Vote Smart. Retrieved October 25, 2015.
  25. ^ Sanchez, Linda; et al. (February 9, 2010). "Letter to President Obama, et al.: End Discrimination for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, And Transgender Binational Families". Vote Smart. Retrieved October 25, 2015.
  26. ^ Congresswoman Linda T. Sanchez - News Archived 2005-11-28 at the Wayback Machine
  27. ^ Archived 2005-11-28 at the Wayback Machine
  28. ^ John Cox, "Bill would turn Internet flamers into felons", Archived 2011-06-15 at the Wayback Machine Network World, May 8, 2009, retrieved May 9, 2009.
  29. ^ Eugene Volokh, "Rep Linda Sanchez defends outlawing of using blogs, the Web, etc to cause distress", Huffington Post, May 7, 2009, retrieved October 6, 2009.
  30. ^ "Congresswoman: White Supremacist Groups Behind Arizona Immigration Law". Fox News. June 3, 2010.
  31. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on February 29, 2012. Retrieved June 5, 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  32. ^ North, John. "Sanchez under fire for immigration law comment". ABC7 Los Angeles.
  33. ^ "Rep. Linda Sanchez marries, with baby on the way". Silicon Valley Mercury News. Associated Press. April 28, 2009.
  34. ^ Morrison, Patt (November 20, 2008). "California Rep. Linda Sanchez's baby announcement". Los Angeles Times.
  35. ^ "Congresswoman Sanchez has baby boy". UPI. May 14, 2009.
  36. ^ "Linda and Loretta Sánchez:"A Conversation with the Sánchez Sisters"". November 12, 2008. Archived from the original on June 15, 2010.
  37. ^[permanent dead link]
  38. ^ Argetsinger, Amy; Roberts, Roxanne (October 8, 2006). "Linda Sanchez, the Congresswoman Who Brings Down the House". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 7, 2010.
  39. ^ "Nonfiction Reviews". Publishers Weekly. June 9, 2008. Archived from the original on October 13, 2008. Retrieved October 22, 2015.

External linksEdit

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Ed Royce
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 39th congressional district

Succeeded by
Ed Royce
Preceded by
Grace Napolitano
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 38th congressional district

Preceded by
Rubén Hinojosa
Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus
Succeeded by
Michelle Lujan Grisham
Party political offices
Preceded by
Joe Crowley
Vice Chair of the House Democratic Conference
Succeeded by
Katherine Clark
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Tim Ryan
United States representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
David Scott